‘Engage youth to learn history’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
MORE needs to be done to engage youth in learning Brunei’s past or the country runs the risk of losing its heritage, said a senior officer at the Brunei History Centre.
In a recent interview, Pg Hjh Mahani Pg Hj Ahmad said students, especially those in primary schools, must equip themselves with knowledge of Brunei’s history so they can grow into adults who are “devoted” to the country.
“Teachers and parents must work together to preserve and save the nation’s heritage from heading towards extinction by encouraging students to read more books on Brunei’s history,” she said.
Though there is an increasing interest in Bruneian history among students, Pg Hjh Mahani said more needs to be done to engage students to be passionate about reading and learning about Brunei’s past.
“We encourage teachers to recruit interest. Teachers need to find ways to make learning relevant, authentic, and valuable in students’ lives,” said Pg Hjh Mahani, who is also the centre’s head of services and exhibition.
She added that one way teachers can do this is by taking their students on field trips while encouraging them to go to libraries to read history books.
Norlydiaty Jaya, marketing officer in charge of the bookstore at the Brunei History Centre, said field trips are necessary as history is no longer taught in primary schools.
In 2009, history was combined with other subjects and is currently being taught as Social Studies in primary schools.
“It is also a parent’s job to ensure their children know Brunei’s history and its roots,” she said.
Pg Hjh Mahani said parents, teachers and students should make use of history books available at the centre to help advance their education.
She said there are a total of 122 books published by the centre, including 14 journals on Brunei’s history.
She added that 14 publications on Bruneian history were launched by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports in February last year.
Among the books published were Sejarah dalam Pembangunan Bangsa (History on the development of nation), Survival Negara Bangsa and eight illustrated stories.
The senior officer said the illustrated stories were the most popular among schoolchildren, noting that it is a great medium for entertainment while also providing literature value.
Norlydiaty said the illustrated stories sold over 1,800 copies last year.
Most of the buyers, she said, were pupils and educators from private and public schools.
“We thought that comics combined with words and images to tell a story would thrill readers, particularly children. What was once seen as ‘low-brow’ literature can also stimulate and engage readers,” she added.
The Brunei Times